Tom Brady hasn’t won a playoff game in quite sometime. Four years to be exact, followed by two losses on the Patriots’ first game of the postseason. The Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow weren’t about to stop the Pats from advancing to the AFC championship game, throwing for a record-tying six touchdown passes en route to a 45-10 demolition.
Tim Tebow creates distractions. He’s a media magnet, even when facing one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. It makes you forget just how good the Patriots and Brady were this season, including in their 41-23 over the Broncos. Tebow’s performance in the Wild Card against the Steelers made us forget as well.
Tebow had another poor passing game, maybe the worst of his career. He completed only 9 of his 26 passing attempts, as the Broncos had only 252 total yards in 71 plays. The Patriots? 509 yards in 64 plays, also leading 31-15 in first downs. The Broncos were smothered by the Patriots heavily criticized defense. The Broncos defense, which had its success against the Steelers, couldn’t hold Brady.
Tebow didn’t have what the Steelers gave him last week. He got sacked five times as the offensive line crumbled under the heavy pressure and Tebow’s out of the pocket heroics just weren’t there. He didn’t have the option to throw the deep ball, he hardly even tried. He didn’t get intercepted, but he went 1-6 when throwing for over 15 yards. The Broncos ran 14 negative plays, on a day to forget.
The Pats suddenly look like they have it all. Again, the Denver Broncos offense is not a measuring stick, and as long as you play them the correct way they’re probably going to have problems putting points on the boards and moving sticks. But like the Saints and the Packers, trusting the offense means a defense can take more risks, be more aggressive. Having Brady? Even better.
Brady responded to with five touchdown passes in one half, a new postseason record. His 363 yards were a new team record. The Patriots’ putting 45 points on the board was a new team record. He now has 15 playoff wins as a starting quarterback, just one short of Joe Montana.
Sense of urgency? Old-time Patriots? Brady was himself, it seemed, but maybe it was a bit different. Maybe it a hungrier team than in previous teams, about a hungrier head coach and about the right adjustments on both ends. Tom Brady wants another Super Bowl, and the next step, be it the Ravens or the Texans, is going to be much harder. Life against the Broncos and the limited Tim Tebow, when treated right, is just a first step to a fourth ring.